From Bauhaus to Bird House

General / People / Places / Products / March 21, 2012

So what do you do for the latter-day nuthatch, wren or chickadee that’s already experiencing the best that life can offer?

A modernist bird house, for starters.

At least, that’s what architect Nandinee Phookan of IMAKE Studio is thinking.

“We wanted to use the modern language of clean lines,” she says.

So with Luis Rivera in New York, she’s designed two distinctive, minimalist cedar cubes, each measuring seven inches per plane, for the tiny birds. 

“It’s almost like an architectural model,” the graduate of MIT’s A-school says.  “It’s like your first exercise in architecture school where you work with a cube and its additive and subtractive volumes.”

Each bird house features an internal mesh ladder to assist chicks in climbing up and out for their first flight.  Vents are incorporated into the design to keep things cool during the summer, and the designers omitted perches of any kind, to remove risks from pesky predators like squirrels or larger birds.  A removable bottom panel enables easy clean-up.

The biggest challenge lay in the scale of the tiny homes.  “As we worked on it, we realized we couldn’t scale it down past a certain point,” she says.

Each bird house is designed to be displayed in courtyards, mounted on pole platforms, or as sculptural pieces for the home.

And each begs the question: What would Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra say?

For more on IMAKE Studio, go to

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Mike Welton

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on March 22, 2012

I definately cannot afford to be seen with that in my yard or studio. My artist and artisan friends would most certainly disown me…never mind what they would do if they found out I paid 320 American for it.

Look carefully at the piece. There is a huge chip out of the front-facing corner on the first picture. Embarassing. Hand-made does not mean sloppy and poorly executed. The craftsmanship is HS-woodshop level at best.

If you really plan on using it outside (not recommended), you may get a year out of it. All those thin cross-grain slabs will twist up and check quicker than you can say “Nut Hatch”

But hey, don’t let me stop you from adorning your peid de terre with shabby detritus.

Thanks for playing!

on March 22, 2012

Love the modern Bird House very cool

on March 21, 2012

This is great, a modern bird house for my new urban garden. It’s perfect and does not look like one of those prefab bird houses. I don’t want a small colonial replication hanging from a tree in my garden. This is a perfect solution. I would pay the extra for it, for a piece of art.

Just Sayin’ to Just Sayin’

on March 21, 2012

This is what I was looking for, something for a modern garden, for modern times. I only want to house the small birds, in my Urban garden,I think it’s perfect.

Good Work

on March 21, 2012

I Love it redoing my backyard and this is just what I was looking for, no more Grandpa Houses, I’m 73 and want to see my urban garden revitalized and refreshed. You can keep your picked fence. I’m getting one of these.

on March 21, 2012

Well it’s not obvious to me and it does not seem poorly crafted either. I appreciate the small opening allowing only smaller birds to have access, and it doesn’t look like you have a stupid mini house hanging from a branch, Grandma and Grandma can keep that look. It reminds me of a piece of art. If you can’t afford it don’t hate.

on March 21, 2012

It is obvious these overpriced, poorly crafted “Bird house-ish thingys” are not intended for real world use, you know,like raising winged offspring.

No bird would actually get BSed or bamboozled into using it as a shelter-unlike their human counterparts.

The irony is that these “things” reflect so much of what most modernist architecture is all about-Lots of sizzle-not much steak…

I’ll take Grandpa’s version-Cheap, easy to build, made from scraps (way before “green” was a “lifestyle”) and (wait for it…) a bird might actually consider nesting in it.

Just sayin’

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